Have you ever been sitting around just chatting with someone and the conversation goes off into various directions? I bet it’s happened to you more often than not. And when you have these kinds of conversations, do they usually start off with one subject and end in a completely different mode of thought? You know, like you might be talking about the walk you just took and end the drawn-out conversation about a revolution? Well, that is exactly what happened this afternoon, upon my arrival home, after exercising my way through the local hills. Rudy and I casually began our conversation with “Man, the blister on my toe is killing me!” into “Seriously, Che Guevara gave him his freedom?”
Well now, Ernesto “Che” Guevara is one of the most controversial figures of the 20th century, one of the few men trusted by Fidel Castro. Lots of people think he’s pretty awesome, especially those in Cuba. So much so, that his face is on the 3-peso note. His admirers are all about the fact that he stood for freedom from imperialism. And he was one idealistic dude. I mean, really, the guy had a love for the common man. Sadly for him, and his followers, Che died for his beliefs.
Yet, on the other hand, there are a ton more people that despise him. Che was a murderer, overseeing the execution of Batista supporters. His critics say he failed in representing the communist ideology and had a hand in ruining the Cuban economy. They weren’t spilling any tears when word spread that Che had been executed, having been shot by a sergeant in the Bolivian Army.
There is a ton of information out there about Ernesto “Che” Guevara, none of which I had ever even heard about. I admit it. I have been clueless about this guy and where he stood in society. There is even an award winning movie, The Motorcycle Diaries, from 2004, based on a book he wrote about his travels through South America. Which is at odds with the fact I have heard so much about Fidel Castro.
Anyway, this guy’s name, Che Guevara, came to my attention, for the first time ever today, when Rudy happened to mention San, a gentleman that he was acquainted with several plus years ago. San claimed that Che gave him his freedom from Cuba. That one day, while at work as an engineer, Che, who had been told that San was a brainiac, stopped by, unexpectedly and asked – or told – San to do something with something, about something. Something that somehow involved Fidel Castro. (Yep. That’s the best description I have of what San was asked to do. Weak, I know). “If you help me, I’ll help you. I will buy your freedom,” he allegedly stated. Well, of course, San conceded, and therefore, true to Che’s word, San was quietly and quickly given papers, shipped out of Cuba, and began a new life in the USA.
Even though the information is hearsay, I believe what San told Rudy. Which means I also believe that this tiny piece of nugget is one part of a much bigger story. One I wish I had access to. I mean, come on, if I had San’s whole life story, including his interaction with Ernesto “Che” Guevara, I could write a really cool story. I am sure I could. I’d write about the life of an ordinary man, intersecting with a powerful one, and how his freedom was given for completing… something.
San? Are you out there?